Weight Limits for an Exercise Ball

Overview

Exercise balls double as weight benches, serve as stretching aids and help you train core strength and stability. They’re typically sized according to your height, particularly your leg length, to ensure you’re properly aligned on the ball when working out, but each ball has a definite limit to how much weight it can support, too.

Names

You may also encounter exercise balls under other names, including stability balls, fitballs, Swiss balls, yoga balls, Pilates balls, core balls and balance balls.

Burst-Proof Limit

An exercise ball’s burst-proof limit, which may be referred to by brand-specific names as well, such as the SecureMax limit for Sissel Swiss balls, is how much weight the ball can hold and still be guaranteed not to explode if accidentally punctured. Instead, a ball that has been accidentally punctured while loaded with less than the burst-proof limit will deflate slowly, giving you time to get off the ball safely. Burst-proof limits typically range anywhere from 200 lbs. to more than 600 lbs., depending on the brand and model of the ball in question.

Note that while most high-end exercise balls are burst-proof, not all of them are. If your ball isn’t burst-proof, it will have only a weight limit, no burst-proof limit, and is likely to explode if punctured, no matter how lightly it may be loaded.

Static Weight Limit

When you see the term weight limit associated with exercise balls, it usually means static weight limit–in other words, how much weight the ball could hold if you simply piled it on top of the ball, with no movement or dynamic forces. An exercise ball’s weight limit often far exceeds its burst-proof limit; if you load the ball beyond the burst-proof limit and it somehow gets punctured, it may explode or deflate suddenly. Exercise ball static weight limits typically range anywhere from 600 lbs. to more than 1 ton.

Considerations

Remember to take not just your own body weight into account but the weight of any exercise aids you’re using, such as dumbbells, barbells, weight plates or medicine balls, too. If you plan to use the exercise ball for any dynamic exercises, including bouncing, make sure that it is specially designed to reduce the impact of the extra dynamic forces you’re subjecting it to.

Warning

Your exercise ball may perform at less than its advertised weight limits, burst-proof or static, if it has been in any way damaged. The experts at GoFit.net recommend against repairing exercise balls, as this might render then unsafe, and instead advise replacing a damaged exercise ball immediately.

About this Author

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics at the University of Alaska Anchorage and contributes regularly to various online publications. Print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.